By Duncan Mackay in Sochi
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

June 8 - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge have witnessed the start of construction on the new Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) here, which is set to be one of the main legacies of Sochi 2014.

The concept of the RIOU was agreed during Beijing 2008 and its first students will take part in workshops ahead of London 2012 and its first cohort will graduate in time to work at Russia’s first Winter Games in 2014.

Each year the University will have an intake of approximately 1,000 students, 205 of whom will be students from National Olympic Committees from around the world and will receive scholarships.

The RIOU will have three faculties: an international relations in sport faculty; a communications in sport faculty; and an international management in sport and entertainment faculty.

Rogge said: "The RIOU will be a fantastic flagship for all the educational projects and programmes of Sochi 2014.

"I am fully convinced that this university will be one of the main elements of Sochi’s legacy and that it will help to spread the Olympic spirit through the work of all of the students that attend this Olympic centre of learning."

Rogge and Putin observed the first bricks being laid along with Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov.

Jean-Claude Killy, the triple Olympic skiing champion at the 1968 Games in Grenoble, who is now a member of the IOC and the chairman of its Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, was also present to see a time capsule being laid in the foundations of the RIOU.

The time capsule includes a letter to future generations of RIOU graduates about the spirit of Olympism.

Chernyshenko said: "Once constructed, the RIOU will play a major role in delivering a legacy for future generations that Sochi 2014 is committed to providing.

"The RIOU will be a unique institution that combines world-leading education in sports management with a commitment to promote the ideals of Olympism."

The teaching staff at the RIOU is expected to include both internationally renowned sports experts and leading Russian academics,  including several from Sochi and the Krasnodar Region.

In the first phase of its operation, the teaching staff will be approximately 40-50 academics.

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